How to avoid Online Fraud

A large number of identity theft crimes occur online.  Criminals can get hold of your personal information through your computer and then set up fake bank accounts, or even take out loans in your name.  You can fight identity theft and avoid becoming a victim of online fraud by following these tips:

  • Be careful when opening attachments – think carefully before opening email attachments, especially when they come from senders that you don’t know.
  • Choose a strong password – using a strong password will make it harder for thieves to gain access to your information. Use at least eight characters, with a mixture of upper and lower case, and both letters and numbers.
  • Don’t give away your PIN – your bank will never ask you for your PIN number – over the phone, via email or on a website. If you’re being asked for your PIN, the person you are speaking to may not be a representative of your bank: DON’T give it to them.
  • Don’t enter any personal information if you’ve arrived on a website from an external link or pop-up ad. Open a new browser window and type the URL directly into the address bar to ensure the site is legitimate.
  • Try not to keep financial information on your laptop – they are much more likely to be stolen. It’s also important to ensure that your laptop is password protected in case it goes missing.
  • Use encrypted sites where possible – Social networks and websites may ask you whether you would like to turn on encryption – you should select ‘yes’ if this is an option. If a padlock symbol is displayed in the address bar, login or payment processes on the site should be secure
  • Destroy financial data before throwing it away – Thieves can gain access to your online accounts without going through your computer. Ensure that you destroy any personal information before throwing it away by shredding bank statements and expired cards.

Report online fraud!   If you think you have become a victim of identity theft or cybercrime, report it to the police and to your bank immediately.

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